As they grow up, children's mouths are in an almost continuous process of development. Below, you'll learn what to expect during your child's oral development between the ages of 4 and 6.
By the time kids turn 3, most will have developed all of their primary (baby) teeth. By 4, their jaws and facial bones begin to develop and grow, creating spaces between the primary teeth.
This growth process creates space in the mouth for the larger, permanent teeth to eventually erupt. Then, between the ages of 6 and 12, your child’s permanent teeth will come in.
Keep in mind that, although they do eventually fall out, primary teeth are just as important to children's oral health as permanent teeth. For this reason, they need to be carefully cared for and cleaned.
During these key developmental years, primary teeth allow children to speak and chew their food properly. They also create space and act as guides for the permanent teeth when the time comes for them to erupt.
Kids should learn to brush their own teeth between the ages of 4 and 6. By this time, most children’s manual dexterity has developed to the extent that they can hold a toothbrush and dental floss correctly, and they will also most likely be mentally capable of understanding teeth cleaning instructions, and why keeping their teeth clean is important.
Helping children establish good oral hygiene habits at this age will help ensure that they have the tools they need to keep their teeth healthy for life. They’ll still need help, guidance and supervision, though, to make sure they’re thorough and clean each and every tooth.